Hey family! =D
So not like I'm counting or anything but we leave for Thailand in about 12 days! I am so excited! Apparently our first night in Thailand we are staying in a hotel because there are too many of us for the mission home. That will be super exciting! I am so excited to go to Thailand though it still seems so surreal. I mean, will I really be in Southeast Asia in two weeks? Apparently the first day there we are given two copies of the Book of Mormon to give out. The only reason we know this is because my companion's mom sends her blog entries from one of the sisters that just got to Thailand a couple of weeks ago. It's nice getting a sneak peek. If you are curious to know what's going on in Thailand, her name is Sister Zaugg. I guess you can try googling it....maybe. (If you're curious, the link is sisteremmazaugg.blogspot.com)
Um... what's happened this week? Tuesday devotionals are now in the Marriott center because there are just so many missionaries. Devotional starts at 7 and missionaries in the choir go over around 5:15. That is my heads up to anyone living in the area - traffic will be slowish around the Marriott center around those times. We walk quickly so hopefully it's not too bad for drivers. The Mission Presidents are coming soon so some changes are happening around the MTC. The area where Southeast Asia usually sits has been sectioned-off for the mission presidents. Also the huge broadcast on the 23rd (The Worldwide Training Meeting) is because of their arrival. It'll be fun. :)
Oh! Guess who I met today? An Elder Slaugh from Colorado. His family is from Vernal and his last name is pronounced the same. His parents are Chad and Anita and his grandparents are Wade and Sylvia. It is now your job to figure out how we are related and dearElder it to me. :) It was really weird. One of the girls in my district saw him first and then told me. We talked for a bit. He is leaving in about a month and I think he is speaking Spanish. I can't remember where he is going. He is in the same zone as my Relief Society president at BYU. She is going to Alabama but I don't think he is going there as well.
(Mom has been doing some research today to figure out the relationship between Elder Slaugh and Abigail). It seems that in 1851 2 brothers (John Jacob Slaugh and George Jacob Slaugh) joined the church in Philadelphia, PA. John Jacob was called as a Branch President and was given the charge to help his branch move to Utah. They settled in Vernal, UT. John Jacob is Abbie’s 3rd great grandfather and his brother, George Jacob Slaugh is Elder Slaugh’s 4th great grandfather. There is another connection with John Jacob’s wife (Matilda Smuin) Her niece, Rachel Smuin married George’s son). This has been fun to figure out – using New Family Search and the Internet.)
So on Saturday something very exciting happened. Phii Tham got baptized! Well... if he was a real person he would have been baptized but since he is really Brother Shipley.... Oh, sad news about Brother Shipley. He was transferred to teach the new Thais. We are very excited for them because he is an amazing teacher but it was really sad when we found out. He wasn't planning on telling us until maybe the day before but somehow it was brought up and somehow we got it out of him. We were shocked and sad. And there may have been some tears shed by every Sister there. He was our first teacher so we were really close to him. His replacement - Brother Thrap - is amazing so don't worry, we still have two excellent teachers. We just all love Brother Shipley. Brother Shipley's response to us getting the news that he was leaving us was something similar to the following: “I guess I don't need to teach how to ask inspired questions”. He teaches the other class (next to ours) a couple times a week so we still see him.
Hm...what next? So Sister Hughes is recovering (reminder: she got all her tonsils out last Wednesday). It actually is a quick recovery (her scabs are starting to fall off) but it still feels really slow for her. She can't eat solids and her throat is constantly in pain. She has painkillers which she takes every 4-6 hours and luckily they don't make her loopy. She has to sleep a lot but she is becoming much more active - only taking one or two naps during the day. But she is improving and should be recovered soon. The scabs look like foam in the back of her throat and it really hurts when they fall off. But, the sooner they fall off, the sooner Sister Hughes gets back to normal. That is the silver lining of her being in a lot of pain: it will be over soon. And she has started to get some solids (soft pasta) but it still hurts. I think the reason she is starting to eat the solids is because she is sick of not being able to eat real food. Totally understandable.
Um...things with Nike (another investigator) are going well as well. He and his girlfriend own two homes (and did before we started teaching them) so they live in separate houses. Their two daughters are adorable (Brother Phan downloaded a picture of two Asian toddlers playing from off the Internet) and LOVE church. The Bishop talked to Nike and Maddy (also the name of Brother Phan's fiance) about marriage so those two will be getting married in a couple of months. They are both very excited. Hopefully things continue to go well. Nike has also starting sharing the gospel with his coworkers so we are going to ask Nike to ask his friend to come to church as well.
Have I told you about Tuk yet? Brother Thrap plays him. Tuk is 33 and lives in Bangkok. He has a 7 year-old daughter named Rainbow who cannot talk or walk. He works from home and works with computers. Two lessons ago we found out that Tuk's wife (Nok - meaning bird) died about a month ago due to "bad health". He is absolutely amazing and really wants to learn. We love teaching him (and Rainbow) so much. We have taught him three times.
um... sorry, I'm really bad at coming up with things to talk about. A couple of days ago some people from the Salt Lake Tribute (I think) came to interview President Nally and the other district of Thais. The main interviewer was Sister Stack's mother. She honestly did not plan for that to happen. She was given the topic and she was also given a district. It was really nice for Sister Stack to see her mom though. So eventually there will be an article coming out about the MTC. They picked the Thai district because they wanted to talk to missionaries learning a hard language. Thai is very hard but I love it so much.
Speaking about Thai, the new Thais are amazing. Honestly they are so smart. With each new group of missionaries, the teachers push them faster. We started learning script a week before our Phii Thais and these Thais are learning script around now-ish. It's so amazing. And the teachers don't allow them to use notes in lessons so they have to learn the words faster. We are so excited for them. There are only 8 new Thai sisters. Now in our entire zone, the only sisters are Thai-speaking. Last week we got 48 new missionaries - only 8 sisters. Today we are getting the missionaries speaking Laotian. We are really happy with all the new people.
Fun Thai fact: fruit means result of wood (tree). Thai is really nice in that way. Oh, and there is a way to change verbs and adjectives into nouns. Just add a word to the beginning of it (kaan, kham, or khwaam). It is so nice because we get to make up words and everyone will understand us.
That's exciting to hear about Elder McCleary. (Our cousin was sent to Indonesia a couple weeks early.) I would love to get to Thailand sooner. I'm not that confident language-wise but I know it will be okay. At Relief Society on Sunday, the speaker told us to just speak the language even if you aren't confident. The Spirit doesn't need the correct words to testify of the truth of the gospel. Also, it's totally okay if all I know how to talk about is the gospel because that's what matters. And people keep on promising us that we'll be able to understand tones better once we are in Thailand. I hope they are right. Tones and I are really not friends yet. I know I'll learn them though so I am optimistic about them.
Oh! another fun Thai thing: butterfly means tiger ghost. Why that makes sense is unknown to us. Maybe we are just getting our tones wrong but still, it's fun.
The MTC is still great and still true. The temple still has the best breakfast ever. :)
I hosted today (meaning I helped new missionaries around the campus). That was fun because it reminded me of when I first got there.
I have to go soon. I must apologize that I am so slow at responding to snail mail. The only time I have to write is Wednesday and during Music and the Spoken Word on Sunday. I am working on them though.
Love you much!!!! =D